Torture Doctors — 1

Skepticism over the detention and charges against one of the 8 detained bomb-plotters, Mohammed Haneef in Australia for the foiled attempt in Glasgow, U.K., in early July raises far deeper issues than those highlighted by the ‘corporate media’ buying into a Western disinformation campaign. Once again the targets are ‘Islamofascists,’ to cite the terminology coined…

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DR. FATIMA SHAHNAZ

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Skepticism over the detention and charges against one of the 8 detained bomb-plotters, Mohammed Haneef in Australia for the foiled attempt in Glasgow, U.K., in early July raises far deeper issues than those highlighted by the ‘corporate media’ buying into a Western disinformation campaign. Once again the targets are ‘Islamofascists,’ to cite the terminology coined by U.S. President George W. Bush. The latest wave of feeding frenzy and Muslim-bashing again underlines the bias against so-called Islamic ‘jihadis’; but this time, with a twist by defining a new kind of ‘high tech’ terrorist in the Muslim engineer, doctors and scientists from India’s silicon city, Bangalore. This assault on Bangalore (where the science institute was targeted by terrorists in 2005) should raise grave doubts regarding the motivations in Western countries trumping charges against Indians, Muslims in particular, to exploit the Hindu-Muslim paranoia already existing in this country, and Western xenophobia against Islam.

UK IMMIGRATION POLICIES TARGET DOCTORS

Further, the knee-jerk immigration measures by the incoming Prime Minister of the U.K. Gordon Brown stress the direction and policies this government will follow. On July 4, Brown announced an immediate review of overseas medical recruitment to its National Health Service; skilled migrant workers would undergo background checks. Brown told parliament that Admiral Alan West, his new security minister, would oversee the NHS review.

“It is vitally important that the message is sent out to the rest of the world that we will stand strong, steadfast and united in the face of terror,” Brown said, virtually pledging his commitment to the neo-conservative overlords in Washington, as a continuation of his predecessor Tony Blair’s subjugation to the Bush policies.

The new immigration policies of the Brown government targets the medical establishment in Britain, where 28,000 Indian doctors are registered to practice by Britain’s regulatory overseer, General Medical Council. Brown sent a warning to this booming professional high tech and scientific community: “We’ll expand the watch list .. of potential terrorists so that we list them in such a way that authorities of different countries can be warned.”

According to the NHS Employer, the current background checks are already “rigorous checks” including “verification of identity, qualifications, registration and eligibility to work in the U.K.”

Hasan Suroor warns, “There is concern that singling out foreign doctors for a tougher regime could be seen as discriminatory and spark a legal challenge as happened after the introduction of new immigration rules last year requiring doctors from outside the EU to obtain work permits. It is particularly bad news for some 19,000 Indian doctors already struggling to find jobs following changes in immigration rules. Ramesh Mehta, president of the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, said the proposed review was “worrying” and likely to fuel the anxiety among overseas doctors.

“Covert discrimination will begin even before review is complete. For the Prime Minister to stand up in Parliament and say that there need to be more rigorous checks on foreign doctors is enough for employers to get the message,” he said. Discrimination against foreign doctors and racial profiling of Muslims in particular will rise; but the real outcome of the terrorist acts enables the U.K. to install stringent police state measures to spy on their own country.

TERROR TRAIL

The mass media instantly zeroed in on the connections between Maqbool Ahmed, the father of two of the implicated bombers, Kafeel and Sabeel Ahmed (a doctor and engineer respectively) and the Jamaat-e-Islami, whose literature was allegedly “intensely propagated in his house.” But this was merely part of the disinformation campaign from London – the cover-up – serving as a diversionary strategy from the real influences over the Glasgow bombers: One of the plotters was known to visit Al Qaeda leaders in Pakistan, according to The Daily Telegraph. “The information suggests the leaders of the gang may have been seeking approval from Al Qaeda before going ahead with their plan. Kafeel Ahmed was an associate of one of the group’s top bomb-makers in Europe, and involved with convicted terrorist Abbas Boutrab, an Algerian, when he planned targeting airliners. He met Boutrab in Belfast, Ireland, while studying for a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering at Queen’s University between 2001 and 2004. Boutrab was arrested in Belfast in 2005 and convicted two years later for downloading information on blowing up a passenger jet. Both men may have belonged to the same Al-Qaeda group using Ireland as a “quiet base” to launch attacks in Britain, according to “Muslim sources” in Ireland. The cell included Kafeel Ahmed.

BRITISH TERRRORIST TRAINING CAMPS

Also according to intelligence reports considerable numbers of Britons have been reportedly training under ‘terrorist techniques’ in Bangladesh. The spillover from the Middle East, particularly Iraq and Afghanistan, dumping grounds for an alarmingly high British-American weapons arsenal and training ground for all kinds of militancies, is expanding the tentacles of international terrorism. For instance, Indian doctor Mohammed Haneef, charged in Australia, reportedly had contacts with an Iraqi doctor, Bilal Abdullah, the first to be charged in the Glasgow plot. (To note: Iraq is currently under American occupation.) Dr. Abdullah, 27 years old, was charged when police discovered two Mercedes sedans packed with nails, gasoline and gas canisters; he was identified as one of two men driving the Jeep Cherokee into the entrance to a check-in area at Glasgow Airport where it was set afire. Khalil Ahmed was badly burned in the attack, and moved to a burn unit at the Glasgow city infirmary.

Another key issue is the dubiousness of the degrees and qualifications of some of the alleged ‘doctors’. A significant pointer that emerges out of all of the above ‘terrorist’ information lies in the terrorist connections within the U.K. and Ireland, particularly Belfast, where the British themselves trained and sponsored ‘terrorists’ in their long war to quash the Irish liberation movement. Thus, instead of focusing on the Jamaat, whose commitment to the welfare of disaffected Muslims in India is public knowledge, the real focus should be on British-sponsored terrorists in Ireland, a hotbed of the British conspiracy. This time, however, by using Indian Muslim doctors as pawns in the latest round of ‘al-Qaeda’ operations and targeting the high-tech sector, the Anglo-Americans have simultaneously targeted two of their foremost betes noires, immigrants, and developing societies.

THE ‘JIHADI’ TRAIL

Part of the disinformation to divert public opinion toward ‘jihadi’ terrorists lies in conflicting definitions of radical ‘Islamists’ or militant Islam. Pratab Bhanu Mehta, president of the Centre for Policy Research, writes of Hussain (one of the bombers) and other Muslim migrants who allegedly underwent the influence of writings by Ghulam Sarwar of the Jamaat, whose English textbook translation in Britain fuelled “dreams of a caliphate, the plausibility of a narrative that represents Muslims across the world as united in brotherhood, but also at the receiving end of history. There is the sheer allure of groups like Hizub-ut-Tahrir that promise not just to answer Western double standards, but also a brave new future.” Commentary of this nature merely deepens the prevailing confusion and anti-Islamic propaganda by stereotyping Muslim organisations as part of a global conspiracy.

Ram Puniyani, Secretary, All India Forum, writes, “Broadly one can put terrorists in two categories. The first category is of those who strongly feel a sense of injustice being done to them or their community and who also feel that there is no hope of getting justice done to them or their community and who also feel that there is no hope of getting justice. This psychology operates at personal, family or social level. It also assumes the shape of political outfit at times, like LTTE, ULFA and IRA …”

Referring to the murder of an Englishman, Saunders, after the killing of Lala Lajpat Rai, he recalls that such acts “by Indian revolutionaries … where the personal identity is merged with the identity of the nation or the whole community. The second “rough category” [of terrorists] is the one where the identity of religion is invoked to play one’s political game. And this latter was consciously executed by US in the wake of Russian armies invading Afghanistan.”

The British-Americans deployed Muslims against the Soviets for ‘strategic’ reasons. The Americans used Muslims instead of sending their own soldiers to die, since many of them were lost in Vietnam. “The papers of CIA policies and other documents referred to by various scholarly studies reveal as to how US through CIA, in collaboration with ISI set up Madrassas in Pakistan to indoctrinate the Muslim youth to undertake jihad, i.e. kill the communist kafirs in Afghanistan. That’s how Al Qaeda, today’s most dreaded organization, came up,” Mr. Puniyani concludes.

Another definition of terrorism was issued by the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh following the foiled Glasgow plot (July 6, 2007): “We should not fix labels like Muslims or non-Muslims … it won’t help us in understanding the situation of dealing with it. A terrorist is a terrorist; he has no religion or community … As a Sikh, I understand the trauma (of being labelled).” (This is a reference to the persecution of Sikhs in the aftermath of PM Indira Gandhi’s assassination by Sikh bodyguards).

THE BANALITY OF EVIL

Despite the voracious media appetite for blaming Muslim radicalism, the mystery of doctors and high tech science professionals implicated in the Glasgow bombings leaves many questions unanswered. The most prominent of these is the banality of evil in today’s society with U.S.-led military interventions and the Israeli occupation of Palestine unchallenged. Why, and how, could doctors violate medical ethics and resort to terrorist activities?

News coverage also fails to examine the Trans-Atlantic trail leading to the doorstep of the United States, where two of the arrested doctors had intended to practice medicine. According to one American law official on July 6, the doctors had made preliminary enquiries (confirmed by the Philadelphia Inquirer) and contacted the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates, a non-profit organisation in Philadelphia screening foreign citizens training or wishing to practise medicine in the U.S. Nancy Dowd, a spokeswoman for the FBI investigation, said one of them was “applying” for approval to practice in the U.S. “But we don’t believe he took the test,” she told the Associated Press. None of the eight people arrested had been in the U.S., the law enforcement official added. But how could physicians commit acts of terrorism, in a gross violation of the Nuremberg Code, the code of medical ethics drafted in 1947 by American jurists to address Nazi medical atrocities and experiments on human beings in Germany? A deep study into medical practice in the U.S. underlines that the myth of the ‘mad scientist’ is alive, and that violations of medical ethics have been systematically committed by the United States itself in horrific medical experiments conducted in none other than Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at the infamous Holmesburg Prison on prisoners and minority races.

According to one witness, at least one Indian doctor (identified only as “Dr. Singh”) worked in the “American prison gulag” during the 1950s and ‘60s that violated international norms of human rights. Added to this is the systematic betrayal of medical ethics against Muslim detainees in American prisons in Guantanamo Bay, Iraq and Afghanistan. Medical complicity in the ‘war on terror’ is practised with the full collusion of governments and the pharmaceutical industry. Doctors were present at Abu Ghraib, Iraq, as practitioners of torture. (to be continued)